David Chiu helps Leland Yee

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It's nice, sometimes, to be in Sacramento. You can run for local office without having to vote on local issues. Witness State Sen. Leland Yee, who didn't have to take a formal position on the Park Merced project -- and now can bask in the wonder of seeing David Chiu hand him thousands of tenant votes.

Here's the deal: Chiu and Yee are both fighting for progressive voters in the mayor's race. Most progressive groups will endorse John Avalos, but Yee and Chiu want those second-place votes, badly. Yee's already got his West-side base, and getting a number two nod from, say, the Milk Club or SEIU 1021 won't hurt him a bit with those voters. But he's not strong with Chinatown leaders (Rose Pak despises him) and he's in a race with three (so far) Asian candidates. He's also contending with a bunch of other center-moderate types (Dennis Herrera, Bevan Dufty) in a very crowded race.

His strategy -- and it's smart -- is to court the left, get those second- and third-place nods on the East side of town and emerge from the pack when all the votes are counted. Problem is, that's Chiu's natural constituency (or should be) -- he talks about "our shared progressive values," was elected as a progressive and, frankly, can't win this race just by sticking to the center. It's just too crowded there with too many people who have won citywide races.

And Chiu just gave up a huge chunk of the city's left by alienating every tenant group in town.

As Dean Preston of Tenants Together put it in BeyondChron (which is generally quite friendly to Chiu):

 Chiu reached a backroom deal with the developer and provided the crucial sixth vote to approve the largest demolition of rent-controlled housing in San Francisco since the redevelopment of the Fillmore. Despite a good record on tenant rights issues before his work on Parkmerced, Chiu has now earned the distrust of tenants across the city.

The tenants aren't always a solid bloc. Mitchell Omerberg of the Affordable Housing Alliance and Ted Gullicksen at the Tenants Union don't always agree on candidates or issues. But there was no division or dissent on this one. Omerberg, who has been known to slide to the center, was adamant that Chiu's vote -- the swing vote to move the project forward -- was "deeply disappointing." He told us: "In general it's an unwise, immoral plan to demolish a neighborhood. When you demolish people's homes, you always regret it later."

So now Yee can go to progressives and say -- as he did at the Democratic County Central Committee -- that he has all kinds of concerns about Park Merced and make it sound as if he opposes it, and use that leverage to peel some endorsements and votes away from Chiu. It's ironic: When he was on the Board of Supervisors, Yee was hardly known as a pro-tenant vote. His record on tenant issues, while ancient history in political terms, was going to haunt him with some progressives (and still may). But now he's gotten a boost -- if only because he and Chiu are the ones most agressively working to get endorsements from progressive groups, and Chiu just shot himself in both feet.

 

Comments

10 people, at most, in support during those hearings.

Hundreds have mobilized in opposition.

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2011 @ 8:54 am

As I said, bullshit. The only large contingent supporting the Parkmerced demolition are developers, and trade union members who are desperate for jobs, most of the latter who do not even live in San Francisco, let alone Parkmerced.

Posted by Eric Brooks on May. 28, 2011 @ 11:39 am

This is 2011, not 1950. Level this place and get with the times.

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2011 @ 7:45 am

These comments are clearly overlooking the benefits of the development project. San Francisco is plagued by a shortage of housing for San Franciscans. This project will create over 5,000 new residences, which is a major step in the right direction in addressing the lack of housing that drives the overall cost of living up. David Chiu is progressively looking toward the long term big picture, which is the purpose of public representatives.

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2011 @ 8:42 am

And the same 5,000 residences could be built somewhere else like the Geary corridor where it is not necessary to destroy people's homes to build them.

Get a soul.

Posted by Eric Brooks on May. 28, 2011 @ 11:42 am

These comments are clearly overlooking the benefits of the development project. San Francisco is plagued by a shortage of housing for San Franciscans. This project will create over 5,000 new residences, which is a major step in the right direction in addressing the lack of housing that drives the overall cost of living up. David Chiu is progressively looking toward the long term big picture, which is the purpose of public representatives.

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2011 @ 8:44 am

There is one reason and one reason only why this is being done. When you cram 30,000 people into a space for 8,000, it's clear that the developer of all those units is banking on making an enormous amount of money.

The rest of the community is going to be left bearing the costs of the impact.

The project isn't going to be completed till 2040, so many of those seniors who were promised new homes will never see those homes. Clearly, by dragging it out so long, the developer is counting on a lot of those folks to die.

Most of the new units will be "market rate" housing, which means totally unaffordable to most San Franciscans, further gentrifying the city and turning it into a city only for the wealthy. Why is it that everything is always so expensive in the "free" market?

The Park Merced community as a whole will see a dramatic and negative change in the environment. The peaceful community with courtyards and green spaces will become an urban dystopia of concrete and traffic. And that extra traffic will strain the resources of the surrounding community as well.

That's the best case scenario, if the developer keeps their promises and doesn't become insolvent along the way.

Posted by Greg on May. 28, 2011 @ 6:35 pm

10 people at most in support at the hearing? Of all the comments here that is probably the most inaccurate statement so far. There were 10 people in support sitting in my aisle alone. I think u either need a hearing aid or a new set of glasses.

Walk around this tired old decrepit place and see how many times u will find a maintenance man parked at someone's "wonderful" Garden home doing repairs.

Increased population! Of course there will be. This is a city!! What do u expect? If u want complete privacy, go live in a small town. You do have choices in life.

Finally, this is going to be done. You and all your pro bono lawyers can sit around and cry the blues or u can spend your time making sure it is done right. There not kicking u out of yr home. There replacing there home that u occupy with a better home for you, that will be cleaner and safer and more efficient at rent control prices. Most of the people that live here havent been here for 60 years, 30 yrs or even 15 yrs. There paying much higher rent, and guess what, they want there place to be livable. Get with it.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2011 @ 5:40 am

Nice try.

We are of course talking about Parkmerced -residents- at the hearings who are proponents or opponents.

The residents opposed outnumber resident supporters by at least 10 to 1.

Posted by Eric Brooks on May. 29, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

I have been a tenant in Park Merced for 18 years, and I greatly appreciate David Chiu for standing by his vote for this sustainable project. I believe that this project will be good for San Francisco, good for the residents of Park Merced and good for the future. When I went door to door to talk to other residents I found that most of them were fine with the project and happy to have some of there questions answered (there was no pressure, only information). There has been a lot of misinformation out there that has caused fear and anger. In the end I think the residents will be happy with the results. I will be voting for David Chiu for Mayor.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2011 @ 8:26 pm

The Parkmerced project is not sustainable at all. It raises greenhouse gas emissions for its first 25 years at least, and because it will unnecessarily add 6,000 more cars to the area, those emissions will only keep increasing.

Whoever sold you this thing as 'sustainable' is lying through their teeth.

Posted by Eric Brooks on May. 29, 2011 @ 10:26 pm

Leland Yee's record on the Board of Supervisors is by far most conservative of current and former supervisors who are running. Leland Yee was one of only two supervisors to vote against providing transgender heath benefits to city employees. He opposed the queer youth shelter. He was perhaps the most pro-landlord vote on the Board. Bevan Dufty's record is far more progressive than Leland Yee's.

Posted by Guest bernal on Jun. 01, 2011 @ 5:14 pm

That was over a decade ago when Yee was a local supervisor for a conservative district. Yee's record in State government is totally different.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 01, 2011 @ 5:25 pm

Yee was elected citywide as Supervisor in 1996, yet was one of the most conservative supervisors. District elections didn't exist until his second term. Even then, he must take responsibility for his voting record. Being on the Board of Supervisors forces one to take stands on controversial local issues in ways being a state legislator does not.

Posted by Guest bernal on Jun. 01, 2011 @ 5:48 pm
Posted by Guest bernal on Jun. 01, 2011 @ 6:29 pm

Bernal, while it's true that Yee hasn't always been stellar on tenants' rights, that article is one-sided and it's ancient history anyway.

Mainly it faults Yee for not supporting an Ellis Act reform bill (in the end, he abstained), and uses that to oppose him in his State Senate run. As if Mike Nevin would have been such an awesome backer of tenants rights! But never mind. What the article fails to mention is that the Tenants Union endorsed him for that race. I'd never support an anti-tenant candidate, but if he's good enough for the Tenant's Union, then he's good enough for this tenant.

And frankly, since he was a supervisor representing a very conservative slice of the electorate (whether in district elections or not, he still had a conservative base), he's broadened his coalition considerably and has become much better on tenants' rights, as he has on a number of issues. In fact he supported a subsequent bill for Ellis Act reform after being elected to the Senate, and I can't recall a single anti-tenant vote he's made in the last decade.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 01, 2011 @ 9:14 pm

When I saw the carsalesman suit.I thought OH OH, here we go.

Posted by Guest another guest on Jun. 02, 2011 @ 6:20 pm

I hear that the Gang of Six are forming a corporation selling ocean front property in Arizona. Any takers. You know you can trust them. Rumor has it that Herrera is their attorney of record.

Posted by Pat Monk.RN. on Jun. 03, 2011 @ 1:39 pm